134th Infantry Regiment
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
During July of 1944, Hill 122 was the scene of a tremendous battle on which hinged the capture of St. Lo. The following is an excerpt from the unit history book 134th Infantry Regiment Combat History of World War II:
"Defending the approaches to St. Lo in this sector - and this meant primarily Hill 122 - was the German 352nd Infantry Division, a unit which had been organized in 1943 for the defense of western France. Hill 122 (it took its name from its height in meters) did not loom as a high, dominating terrain feature from the north, but rather it consisted as a series of plateaus - with the usual hedgerows and sunken roads running across its gently-sloping face. But the nature of the elevation gave the enemy an even greater than ordinary advantage in observation, and his well-co-ordinated defensive firing positions made the hill foreboding enough. Its tactical importance became more apparent with a closer study of the maps and aerial photographs; it seemed clear that here was the key to the whole situation; this terrain dominated St. Lo which nestled below in a saucer-like valley at the bend of the Vire River. Hill 122, then, was the immediate objective as the men of the 1st and 2nd Battalions moved, in well-deployed formations, throughout the area of the 3rd Battalion and through the artillery which already was falling, toward that last hedgerow short of "no-man's-land," toward that spot which becomes the last lot for all infantry riflemen, where there is nothing out in front but the enemy."
For their extraordinary heroism in the battle for Hill 122, the First Battalion was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation by the President of the United States.
Battle Honors - As authorized by Executive Order 9396 (sec. I, WD Bul. 22, 1943) superseding Executive Order 9075 (sec. III, WD Bul. 11, 1942), citations of the following units in the general orders indicated are confirmed under the provisions of section IV, WD Circular 333, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction:
The First Battalion
G. O. 66 Washington 25, D.C., 10 August 1945
The 1st Battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment, is cited for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy in vicinity of St. Lo, Normandy, France, from 15 to 19 July 1944. On the morning of 15 July 1944, the 1st Battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment, instituted its initial attack against the enemy in the Villiers-Fossard sector, 2 1/2 miles northeast of St. Lo, in a frontal assault on Hill 122, the dominating terrain feature of the German defensive positions before St. Lo. The battalion bone was interspersed with sunken roads and checker with hedgerows composed of large bases of earth surmounted by shrubbery and trees. So strongly emplaced and stubbornly defended were the enemy hedgerow defenses, generally impregnable to all types of fire except direct hits from artillery, that it was necessary for individual soldiers to crawl forward to throw hand grenades in order to silence the enemy guns. Under heavy enemy fire of all kinds, across mine fields, the battalion moved forward against seasoned German troops, advancing some 2,100 meters by noon. Continuing its determined advance despite increasingly strong resistance and although suffering mounting casualties, the battalion pierced the enemy regimental reserve line, consolidated its position for the night, and repulsed repeated enemy counterattacks, while units on its right and left endeavored to advance to positions abreast the battalion. On 17 July the battalion resumed its drive, by dogged determination broke through the enemy's almost impregnable main line of resistance at great cost to the enemy of men and material, and that night reached the military crest of Hill 122, thereby crushing the main enemy defense in the area. After overrunning the remaining enemy positions on 18 July, the battalion consolidated its position less than 2,000 yards north of St. Lo, from which point patrols were sent into the town. On 19 July the battalion entered St. to relieve units in defensive positions around its forward perimeter. This operation was conducted smoothly and successfully despite intense fire from enemy guns located in hills south of St. Lo. The magnificent gallantry, heroism, teamwork, and will to win displayed by the 1st Battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment, in this crucial operation, characterized by countless deeds of individual and group heroism, and its tremendously significant part in the action on Hill 122 at the approaches to St. Lo, contributed immeasurably to a major victory for the United States, and reflects the highest credit on the character and training of the officers and men of this unit. (General Orders 45, Headquarters 35th Infantry Division, 18 June 1945, as approved by the Commanding General, European Theater of Operations.)
|View My Guestbook|